Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grunting Koala's and Foraging Quails

I've been spending a lot of time out at the Gum Tree Garden over the last few months.  Usually arriving just in time to see the sun rise and take some photos.  Then it's time for billy tea and toast on a stick...and maybe some bacon and eggs.... over a camp fire before going for a walk to see if I can find any Koala's sleeping in the tree tops along the road.   While flocks birds are in abundance along the road I am yet to see a Koala.  The rest of the day is spent...chipping the long grass, dragging logs into position to create swales to slow the rush of water from the road, and cutting paths through the undergrowth down to the creek.

One can see the mist lingering in the distance as the sun rises

I camped out at the Gum Tree Garden Studio recently and you can imagine the disappointment when I found that I had left my camera's memory card in the computer.  I missed shots of glorious crimson sunsets and wild life that did not seen to have any fear of humans. 

Two little helpers .... a very large magpie that I have noticed quite often when I working out there and an exquisite little quail..... followed me around as I chipped and raked the soil exposing yummy grubs.  The quail was very friendly coming within only a few feet as he scratched away.  This little fellow had a black cap, a rust bib on the chest, and a rust and black stripes across the eye....the rust stripe over the eye ended in a kerchief effect on the back of the neck.  The wing feathers appeared to be a greeny brown with white speckles and the under feathers were a black and white speckle.  I haven't been able to find an image to match when searching the Internet, so if you recognised this little bird I would love to learn more about him.  I do know that he may have a nest in the long grass, so I am clearing with the greatest care.

I never realised how noisy camping within a Koala Corridor could be.  Each night there was grunting and squealing as the Koala's clambered over head during the night.  One appeared not to like my tent and walked along one side making rhythmic long grunt followed with three short grunts.  He then walked along the back of the tent repeating the sequence of  grunts.  Next morning they were gone, but evidence of their visit was everywhere in the form of almond shaped droppings, including in my washing up bucket that I had carelessly left under a Gum tree.  They seem to be visiting my block quite often now judging from the age and abundance of  droppings.

Bandicoots are also abundant and were heard snuffling around the base of my tent, just under the tent fly...scratching on the ground sheet.  A quick bang on the side of the tent wall sent them on their way.  New Bandicoot holes were every where next morning and one needed to walk with care.  It reminds me of the old Disney cartoons that showed Gophers filling Donald Ducks garden with holes.

The stacks of  pulled African Love Grass are growing.  Some are now 2 metres high and I need to consider how to dispose of them.  The grass is explosive when put near fire so I am very wary of burning the stacks.  This would need huge fire breaks to be created, notification of neighbours and meet all the requirements of the Rural Fire Ranger before a permit is issued.  Carting it to the tip will be very time consuming and also runs the risk of some seeds escaping and spreading the grass pest even further.  At the moment I have thrown old pieces of carpet over the top and hope it will compost down into something more manageable.

I am very excited with the  increased wildlife visits.  It makes the pulling of the thick impenetrable tufts of grass very worth while.

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